LIVE FROM 5G WORLD 2018, LONDON: Departing BT CEO Gavin Patterson (pictured) appeared to play down reports he was pushed out of the company due to waning shareholder satisfaction, arguing he is leaving the operator poised for growth.
Commenting on his upcoming departure during a keynote, he said: “As I enter my sixth year as CEO of BT, now is the right time to pass on the baton…And I believe absolutely the strategy we set out last month is the right one.”
The strategy involves cutting 13,000 jobs, selling off BT’s global headquarters in central London and closing a number of other offices in a bid to cut annual costs by £1.5 billion. The company also plans to revamp its consumer and enterprise divisions.
Patterson explained the strategy addresses long-term efficiency challenges and noted it includes investment in 5G, FTTP and convergence “which is pivotal for the future”.
He stated BT is investing in the UK’s infrastructure, innovating and building converged products and services which its customers will want in the future and “helping to build a workforce fit for a digital future”.
Patterson described his time at BT as challenging, enjoyable and relentless, stating he is confident is he leaving the company in a good state, pointing to the acquisition of mobile operator EE as one of the most important moves the company made during his tenure.
During his presentation, Patterson announced BT will deploy the UK’s first quantum-secured network, describing the technology as “the next line of defence in our war against cyber terrorism”.
The network runs across a standard fibre connection through multiple BT exchanges over 120kms, making it the first real-world deployment of a high-speed quantum-based network security in the UK, the operator said.
The network link is capable of transferring 500Gb/s of data and will explore and validate use cases for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) technologies, particulary around security, as the link is “virtually unhackable”, the CEO explained.
Speaking more on security, Patterson said BT uses what he termed augmented intelligence to help defend the company from “millions of attempted cyber attacks on BT’s networks every month”. This intelligence “and big data combined with insight from our human security analysts enables us to locate and stop malicious attacks even before they begin.”
The CEO said he met companies in Silicon Valley developing augmented intelligence tools which will “address customer concerns before they have even been voiced by analysing how a customer is talking, not just the words they are using” adding the operator will be trialling this technology.